Being the new kid on the block is the toughest gig around, especially if you're a brewery in Orange County, home to some of the best suds factories around. It can be intimidating, or—if you're Network Brewery—it's the ultimate of challenges. Only open for a few months, Network Brewery is already looking to expand at itss current location and looking to open another brewpub in Bellflower.
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Expansion this fast only comes from the high demand of their finely crafted brews, already available in bottles to go from their tasting room off the 55 freeway in SanTana, one of the smallest but friendliest tasting rooms around. Find a spot among the regulars that work nearby, bring your craft beer A game, and nerd out about hops and malts. Expect either owner,Brian or Mike, to give you a quick tour and history of their humble but fun-filled brewery.
Tasters are available for all beers, but they're all good so skip them and just get the full pour! Unicorn Tipper Milk Stout (5.4% ABV) is a very solid stout with a hint of toffee and strong chocolate notes—sweet on the end. Half-Christmas IPA (7.1 ABV) is a nice mix of hops and light, juicy floral notes that makes this easy to drink with no bitterness. The big flavors One Shot American Pale Ale (5.8% ABV) could easily be the flagship beer of Network Brewery, but it's early in their run, and I know they have more recipes up their sleeve. But the best thing going right now is the Santiago Creek American Red Ale (6.1%ABV). It's a traditional malty red ale, but they kick it up with chai spice, which mellows the maltiness ever so slightly. Brilliant!
You're welcome to bring your own grub to Network Brewery since there's no kitchen, but bring an extra pizza, a couple of spare tacos or sushi rolls—be a pal to everyone. And keep an eye out on these crazy kids...
Network Brewery, 1824 Carnegie Ave., Santa Ana; www.networkbrewery.com